Gastro cases spike in SA, more than double those of 2022
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Gastro cases spike in SA, more than double that of this time last year

Gastro cases spike in SA, more than double that of this time last year

by Freya Lucas

November 14, 2023

South Australia is experiencing an outbreak of rotavirus more commonly known as ‘gastro’ with at least 975 cases, compared with 475 cases at the same time last year.


The cases are mostly being reported in children under four years of age, followed by children aged five to nine years of age, according to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.


While rotavirus is considered a reportable disease, there are other forms of ‘gastro’ that don’t have to be reported to health authorities, which may mean the true number of cases in the community is much higher. 


SA’s Health Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier explained that the reported numbers only represent if there’s been a child and there’s been a specimen sent off to the lab which has been tested.


That being said, she continued, there will be “lots of other people” that might have had gastro and the sample doesn’t go in, so it’s not notified.


Viral gastroenteritis is spread when a person comes into contact with faeces or vomit carrying the virus. Symptoms include a mild fever, nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.


Children can spread rotavirus two days before and up to eight days after developing diarrhoea. The onset of symptoms is often sudden and generally lasts about three to seven days.


In serious cases, the illness can cause severe dehydration and require treatment in hospital.


Patients are recommended to stay home for at least 24 hours after their last episode of diarrhoea, while early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings are encouraged to follow policies and procedures, as well as seeking advice from Staying Healthy in Childcare

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